Winter is Coming

Will the economy be better under Biden or Trump? George G talks about how and why winter is coming, and what you can do to prepare!

Jul 2, 2024 | Blogs, Podcast

About the Episode

Will the economy be better under Biden or Trump? Is there anything either of them can do regarding the budget deficit and national debt?  

George G talks about how winter is coming, regardless of who wins the 2024 Presidential election, and what you can start doing immediately to position yourself for success!

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Episode Transcript

ll right, today’s letter comes to us from little Tina little Tina writes Dear George Gee, it’s gonna be better for the economy if Donald Trump wins the election, or if President Biden wins the election, but a question, what a question Latina. Appreciate you writing in thanks for asking, and certainly appreciate when people are are trying to make heads and tails out of what’s going on. That I think unfortunately, unfortunately, the answer is probably neither. I don’t have a lot of confidence in either one of these people. I’m really fond of South Park’s take on on presidential elections, saying that it’s always between a douche, a giant douche and a turd sandwich. If you’re not familiar with those South Park episodes definitely encourage you to check that out. Just enter into your favorite search engine, South Park giant douche versus turd sandwich. And it kind of comes up. So briefly on the presidential debates, just from my perspective, I find it to be fairly depressing as couple years ago that people realized the power of narrative. And everybody was talking about narrative and telling your story and selling was story and getting your point across through story. And it’s smart because it’s effective, right? Stories are sticky. They’re identifiable. Like they’re these wonderful tools or devices for getting people’s attention and tapping into emotions and just moving people to some kind of action. And when it comes to presidential politics, it’s how do I get this person to vote for me? Know, either they’re really gonna like me, or they’re really going to dislike that person. And how does it all shake out? But the bad part is, we lose the substance, we lose facts, we lose policy, we lose hard data. There wasn’t any of that going on last night. It was all. I’m the best president ever. And that guy was the worst, or is the worst president ever. To which the other guy said, I’m the best president ever. And that guy is the worst president ever. I mean, it’s that whole meme where Spider Man is pointing at Spider Man or spy versus spy or whatever, or snake chasing its tail? I could keep going. But I think that you get the idea. So fundamentally, well, let me continue with that. Not the analogy about snakes and chicken and eggs and stuff like that. But rather, wouldn’t it be better if we demanded plants if we demanded policies. And the candidate had to submit in advance evidence of their record? And then a written plan? So instead of these two people bickering about, oh, all my unemployment was this and your unemployment was that? So we would just know, because that’s that’s knowable. Find one source of information that people agree on factual data sets, said during Trump’s presidency, here’s what happened during Biden’s presidency, here’s what happened. And we can have a conversation about why it is and what caused that and all that stuff. But at least we would know, we would know the actual data versus just sort of all everybody’s looking in the rearview mirror and saying the other person’s dumb. I want to know what actually happened. But then more importantly, how, what are you going to do to actually solve these problems? Or rather to at least slow down our acceleration off the cliff? Like, are you going to how, how capable are you going to be of stopping what is currently a catastrophic slide and a slide is getting faster and faster of a vehicle, which is the country careening off the side of a mountain, which will then result in the vehicle barrel rolling down the side of a mountain exploding and everybody dies in a horrible fire. Because from my perspective, that’s where we’re at right now. And I didn’t hear anybody say anything about what they were going to do about any of it. So that would have been nice. That what are you going to do? What are you going to do? And that’s more of what I wanted to talk with you about today. I want to reinforce or bring to your attention, the precarious situation that we’re in. Because I think that we all have passing ideas about what’s going on. And I’m not interested in painting some kind of a narrative picture. What I’m interested in doing is sharing with you, the current state of play, where we are at right now. And I don’t really care why we’re there. I don’t care whose fault it is that we’re there. I just want to do something about it. I want to be pragmatic and say, Hey, let’s all let’s all Let bygones be bygones. And instead of trying to put everybody in jail, prison, for that matter, and calling people names, and figuring out what’s going on, here’s what we do. I tell you what, here’s what we can do. Let’s, let’s let Biden and Trump play around a golf, and whoever wins gets to be president. But then the actual House of Representatives and the Senate, they can get on the same page, maybe we can do that. Come up with some policies that actually make sense. That’s probably not going to work either shoot, but we’re going to do, what are we going to do? Well, we’re going to talk about what you and I can do, because with all these problems, with all these big problems, and these are really, really big problems. And I certainly, I certainly acknowledge that it always feels like this is the worst, that things I’ve ever done. I totally get it feels really bad this time. But it felt really bad last time also. And it’ll feel really bad next time. But when we are getting progressively worse, than it is worse than it was last time, because things are worse than they were last time. So let’s break this down and look through the numbers sort of briefly, I am going to if you’re watching this, or if you’re not watching this, we’re going to go to US debt clock.org. Just so you can actually see what this program looks like. If you’ve not been to US debt clock.org, I encourage you to go there. It is a real time accounting of where all of our money is going got our national debt. We’ve got United States tax revenue, and it breaks down everything from payroll tax revenue to income tax revenue and state tax revenue. And then we have our largest budget items. And then we have unfunded debt and interest. And then there’s some interesting information about the US population. And really quick on that the current US population is around 336 million people. Now, how many people do you think are actually income taxpayers? How many of the 336,000 people three and 36 million are actually income tax people, payers? First and foremost, out of the 336,000,160 1 million are actually in the United States workforce. Okay, so about half of the population is in the workforce. How many of those are how many of the people are actually paying income tax? That’s 129 million. So well below 50% of our population are actually paying income tax. So I think that a lot of people are commonly surprised by that. I think it’s an interesting thing. You could see that the United States national debt is currently standing at $35 trillion. And the current tax revenue is just under $5 trillion. And what our spending is, is $6.7 trillion. So we’re taking in, obviously $5 trillion a year in revenue, but we’re spending 6.7 trillion. So there’s our there’s our budget deficit right there. Now, the largest budget items of the United States of America, there’s four areas now used to really only be three now it’s for number one is Medicaid, or rather, Medicare and Medicaid at $1.7 trillion. So security at 1.4 trillion. Our national defense is that $900 billion, so almost a trillion dollars. And then the fourth one, which is relatively new, is our interest on our national debt. So as interest rates have gone up, that obviously has a profound impact on the amount of interest which is accruing and then adding to the national debt, which is obvious, right? So that’s currently $880 billion.

So getting close to the same amount of money that were spent Then on national defense slash war, if interest rates are zero, well, that number is going to start growing a lot slower, will grow at all. When it’s at five, it’s obviously gonna grow five times as fast than if it was at one. So you certainly get that. Okay, interesting, right? I find that to be interesting. So just those numbers right there, those are giant, giant, giant numbers. If we were to look forward into the future, on this day in 2028, currently, the national debt is 35. Just on just under $35,000,000,000,000.04 years from now, it’ll be $47 trillion, too. So there you go. national interest on our debt, almost $3 trillion. So giant numbers again. So I would encourage you to go US debt clock.org. And check that out. So it’s instructive. So instead of just thinking about narrative and everything else, you could think about? There’s the actual facts, numbers data behind what’s going on with, with with our nation’s finances? Is that what the economy as well? No, but it does talk about employment on there. And stock market, I think that oftentimes we confuse that with the economy. But that’s currently doing pretty well. What if that were to go sideways, how would that make you feel so that make you feel differently, so there’s so much going on there. But foundationally, winter is coming. Winter is coming? Just in four short years, the national debt is going to be $47 trillion. The interest on that alone will surpass will surpass Medicare and Medicaid that will surpass Social Security. It will surpass defense, and money available to fight foreign wars, which we all of sudden seem to have a giant appetite for. So which one of our candidates currently Trump or Biden has the appetite or the will to do anything about it? And I don’t know that there’s an answer to that question. I don’t know that there’s an answer to that question. But we should be asking. And fundamentally, what can you and I do, again, kind of circling back on that, whenever you’re looking at these giant problems, it does feel certainly disengaging it can give me a sense of hopelessness, which is fair and true, because there’s very little that you and I can do about those massive numbers, other than just put our hope and faith in our elected officials, and become a little bit more involved and become more proactive and reaching out to every single one of our elected officials advocating for more prudent financial management. And then let me take that one step further. I certainly talk a lot about being financially responsible, being fiscally responsible in our own lives within our own households. That’s the thing that we have absolute, absolute control over. Obviously, I don’t have any control over the circumstances of my life, if I become sick, and I need medical care if I get in some kind of accident, those things are not self inflicted, within reason. But the rest of it, the things I do, assuming things are going along swimmingly for me and I don’t have any kind of outside, crazy stuff happening to me, how I’m allocating and making decisions about what I’m spending money on and what I’m investing money in, and how much I’m earning and all that stuff. I do have control over. And that’s what we need to focus on. Because if we all focused on that, we would be in a much better situation than we are. talk a lot about holding yourself to a standard, understanding what the standard is the way that you conduct yourself, the way that you operate in the way that your family in your household operates. holding yourself to a standard and understanding that you need to position yourself for success so that when things do come our way, or taxes go up or taxes go down. Is Social Security going to be there? Is it not? Am I going to have access to Medicare? Or am I going to be responsible for all this stuff in my retirement? That I’m at least positioned to roll with the punches or to absorb any blows that might be there because God willing, everything will be just going great. And God willing that modern monetary theory is correct. I hope that it is. I hope that that none of this matters. I hope that debt doesn’t matter. And I hope that if we do keep printing money and our debt miraculously goes away or doesn’t matter anymore, that horrible inflation is going to continue. I hope that that’s all true. Doesn’t make any sense to me. But I certainly hope that it’s true. Like, why would I hope anything other? Certainly if, if our officials of our elected officials are not going to do what, from my perspective, from a common sense, perspective must be done? Well, then I hope that the smartest people in the room are in fact correct. That people making monetary policy and making decisions about interest rates and this that the other thing are actually correct. But what can you and I do right now? What can you and I do number one, number one is you need to get an emergency fund setup, the cash on hand setup, first step is $1,000. So it behooves you to open up an account savings account that is separate from everyday checking account and do everything that you can to get that number to 1000. That’s the beginning of your emergency fund. The next thing I want you to do is to start paying yourself first, if you’re not currently in the habit of putting money away for your financial priorities and goals, we need to change that. So we accomplish that in a couple of different ways. If you’re at a company that has a 401k, enroll in the 401k, even if it’s just at 1%. If you if you’re not, then open up an individual retirement account, or IRA, go to any financial company or your bank, open up an IRA, and start making some contributions, do it on the first of every month, you pay yourself first, before you pay everybody else you put your needs, and your priorities ahead of everybody else’s, and your family’s ahead of everybody else’s, which is exactly where they need to be. Step number three, is I want you to get one month’s worth of expenses saved up. Now this demands that you understand what your cash flow is, and that you have a budget and you understand all of your fixed expenses and a pretty good understanding of your variable expenses. So you have a budget, you put that in place, you’re tracking it. So you understand, okay, my monthly expenses are $3,000. So now I need to get to $3,000 total. So I’ve already got the 1000, the initial emergency fund that I was setting up, I needed an additional 2000 to get to the 3000, which again, are my monthly expenses. So whatever your monthly expenses are, that’s what you want to strive for, and work hard to get there. I know that none of this is easy. I’m not saying that it is, even though I’d say it so freely and so easily. But I understand and appreciate just how hard all this is to do. Then from there, should you find yourself in a position where you have consumer debt like credit card debt. That’s the next step. Let’s put together a plan for getting out from underneath that credit card debt is one of the worst things, all debt is not good. But certainly credit card debt is soul crushing and financial future destroying and everything else. So get mad I advocate for the Debt Snowball, which simply means that he got a handful of credit cards, start with the smallest balance first, regardless of what the Annual Percentage Rate or APR is, just knock out the first smallest balance, got a car with 500 bucks car with 1000 a car with $1,500 in balance, knock out the $500 balance, however long that’s gonna take you and then move on to the next one, then move on to the next one. Okay, how long that takes that takes a year if it takes three years, that’s we need to commit to live debt free. Least from a consumer standpoint, I don’t care about a mortgage. That’s I don’t consider that to be, wouldn’t it be great if we could all just pay cash for our houses and our cars. But meanwhile, in the real world, we sometimes need to take advantage of financing. So do that, get your credit cards paid off, and then it’s let’s get to two months worth of expenses saved up then three, then four, then five and eventually six. Again, sounds easy. Does hard, totally get it. But that is financial security right there. Number one is you’re going to have financial peace of mind, you’re going to be a lot less stressed, you’re going to be a lot more, a lot less anxious. Regarding your finances, you will have been saving money, you have proven yourself that you are fully capable of making whatever changes, sacrifices or investments are required to get ahead financially. So you’ve done that you’ve shown and demonstrated that you’ve got the grit to pay off credit cards and the the ability to focus single mindedly on a goal. And these are nothing but extremely virtuous things that will help you be frankly a more virtuous person, frankly, a stronger person, a more disciplined person. And that’s what we need.

We all need collectively, to come together to become stronger, to become more committed to making sure that we are fiscally responsible. And when we do that as soon as citizens then I just I think that everything else will fall into place from there. So let’s do bottom up, you know, I am a, I’m a I’m a financial populist for sure. I believe in, in the power of the individual, believe in you your ability to do what’s necessary to become financially secure, to become, find financial security, and then get on the path to financial prosperity. I know that you’re fully capable of it, I see people do it every day. Great folks like Dave Ramsey, who are helping people get out of debt and lots of other people, so many wonderful people working to help others become more financially sound more financially secure. And again, if we all do that, what’s going to happen is the people that you have influence over your loved ones, people in your community, they’re going to see that and you’ll be a, an inspiration and a model for them and their behavior as well. And that’s nothing but a really, really wonderful thing. So can’t encourage you to do that enough. So step up, be bold, make, make a plan for yourself and your life. When it comes to your money and everything else for that matter. You know, while you’re thinking about money, miles, we’ll be thinking about the other stuff, too. You know, as much as we can, I want you to be a good steward of your most valuable resources. That’s time, attention, energy and money. And if you’re doing those things, and you’re getting to the point where you’re saving 15% of the money that you earn, if you’re putting that away for your financial priorities and goals, you really do set yourself up for success. And the earlier you can do that the better. And fundamentally, I want to talk about is that there’s never going to be anybody more interested in your financial success than you are. That’s good. That’s true. Donald Trump, Joe Biden, they may be I hope that they both have our best interests, in mind and at heart. I really do. I hope that every member of Congress has that as well. I hope that our Supreme Court justices and everybody that job that is to represent us and our interests, I hope that they do, in fact, have our best interests in mind. And hope that everything that works out hope that all the plans work out, so long as those plans are for our benefit. And that all these people are doing what they actually say they’re going to do. But that being said, I’m going to bet on myself first. And I want you to do the same thing. Because again, winter may very well be coming. And so we need to act accordingly. Gotta be chopping wood, all day long, all summer long, but chopping wood, not because you need to burn it right now. Because when winter does come up to burn it, she’ll be ready to go. You’ll have it all stacked up side of your house covered with a tarp, be able to go pull it out as you need it. Keep yourself your family one we’re talking about. Make a plan. All right. Well, little Tina, thanks so much for the letter. We’ll just have to see if it’s time for a turn number two for President Trump return number two for President Biden. Maybe the whole card tables gonna get flipped over and we’re gonna see something totally different. That’s above my paygrade so to speak. Maybe below be above everybody’s pig, right? And maybe it’s below it. Mm hmm. Finally, again, for the reminder. It’s never going to be anybody more interested in your financial success than you are. So act accordingly.

 

 

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